What would be the best way to drill a whole insert in wood? ?

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turning a piece of live edge slab into drink smoker to make smoke whiskeys and stuff. I have a stainless steel insert for different wood chips but I need to drill whole inserts about 3in wide and 1in deep ( the slab is 2in thick). A whole cutter would have to go all the way through. What would be the least cost effective way to make the inserts?


  8 answers
  • Maybe a router would be the best way to cut out the shape you describe.

  • Seth Seth on May 16, 2021

    I'm not sure I understand why a hole cutter would have to go all the the way through and why you could not stop at a depth of 1 inch? Another good choice for a bit would be a Forstner bit. You can even use a one inch spade bit and make a series of 1 inch deep bores and clean then up with a chisel to get it square. Mark the depth on your bit with painters tape so you know where to stop. You were not really clear on the full dimensions of the holes you need. Ann's suggestion of a router might be the best choice if you have access to one.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 16, 2021

    You could use a router (maybe can rent 1 from Lowes or Home Depot) and a 3" mortising bit-Amazon:


    https://www.amazon.com/Magnate-Surface-Planing-Bottom-Cleaning/dp/B009X5MZ74/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=Router+Bits+3%22+mortising+bit&qid=1621171443&s=power-hand-tools&sr=1-5


    You would have to set the depth on the router.

  • William William on May 16, 2021

    You don't say if the inserts are long like a trough or just round. Router would be the best bet. You can also use a Fortsner bit for a flat bottom round hole.

  • Betsy Betsy on May 16, 2021

    Hello Jacob: If you are looking for something to put your bottles in, I'd go with a hole cutter the size of your bottle. I'm not sure a Forstner bit would be big enough, I think they only go to about 3 1/2 inches. A hole saw may be cheaper, and they may come larger. The kits aren't too expensive. I'd start with a hole slightly smaller than needed and then cut another hole the needed size about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the smaller hole to allow for breathing, catching liquids, etc. Just be sure to get quality tools. If you get cheap tools, you get a crummy job.


    Good luck

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 17, 2021

    You can use a hole cutter to make the cut 1" deep, then back your drill out. After that, chip away with a wood chisel.

  • Maura White Maura White on May 17, 2021

    I like Kathy's idea!

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on May 20, 2021

    I'd use a 3" hole saw and stop when they're deep enough. Then route out the inside.

    The pilot bit inside the hole saw will leave a small hole and I think Betsy's idea of drilling that small hole through, makes sense.

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